In the almost five months since that day, the coronavirus pandemic has killed nearly 130,000 Americans and decimated the U.S. economy. Despite Congress’ approval of trillions of dollars in spending to combat the downturn, unemployment levels have soared to their highest levels since the Great Depression. Trump has slumped badly in the polls due in no small part to his erratic response to the crisis, which now seems to be getting worse after looking like it was improving.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers sparked a national outpouring of anger over racism and police brutality, with protestors taking to the streets in numbers not seen since the Vietnam War. Trump has responded to these events with an harsh reaction that many Republicans disavowed, ordering the violent clearing of Lafayette Park of peaceful demonstrators so he could take a photo op with a Bible. Trump has also tweeted and later deleted a video with a supporter cheering “White power!” and repeatedly used a racist term to describe Covid-19, more troubling behavior that left Republicans scrambling for cover.
On top of that, a new scandal has emerged over alleged Russian bounties paid to the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers. The New York Times and Associated Press reported that Trump was aware of the allegations for months but took no action, forcing Republicans to respond to yet another Trump-related uproar.